Deeds of Flesh – Portals to Canaan (Unique Leader Records)

Sunday, 10th November 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Stepping into the Portals of Canaan, Deeds of Flesh show a metamorphosis of their work. Although Erik Lindmark is the only original member, the band has relatively maintained their sound and continues to incorporate stories, science-fiction theories, and mythological themes into albums. Their recent work follows the same theme-based pattern with new material and twists. Portals of Canaan is comparable to what it might be like if Suffocation met Satriani “Surfing with the Alien,” except in extraterrestrial hell. In a crusade between metal and the cosmos, Deeds of Flesh compiles harsh vocals with heavy metal instrumentals and alien-like sound effects to generate a mildly psychedelic, strongly aggressive, intergalactic atmosphere.

Deeds of Flesh took a few interesting approaches with composition. “Rise of the Juggernaut,” for example, includes a phase when the music subsides to make way for an emphasized alteration from Lindmark’s guttural vocals to muffled verbalization. In its abruptness, the shift conveys a sense of alert and confusion, somewhat replicating a scenario of our radios, ipods, and other listening devices being tapped into by either a warning of the alien invasion or by the invaders themselves. To further create a strong embodiment between music and theme is the album art, done by Raymond Swanland, attention-grabbing with its comic book-like style. The energetic artwork illustrates a number of the album’s leitmotifs and lyrical depictions of suffering, depravity, death, torture, famine, and predominantly an alien apocalypse.

Dynamically, Deeds of Flesh can be applauded for their thunderous use of tremolo amongst all instruments. Taking the brutality of hardcore metal, the darkness of black metal, and instrumentals of heavy metal, they touch on quite a few subgenres and remain a credible force in the metal scene.

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